Recently, I had the honor and blessing to be a guest blogger for The Godly Chic Diaries ( https://gcdiaries.wordpress.com/2019/08/16/to-jean-love-your-son/ ). I am so grateful to June for giving me that tremendous opportunity!
My mom had been on my mind and that is who I needed to write about. I still do. I wrote about her last moments here on earth and my time that I was fortunately able to spend with her before she moved on. I wouldn’t be here to write anything at all if she had made different choices in life. I am so happy she chose to have me, and I believe in my heart that I know she made the right choice as well.
Jean wanted to be a schoolteacher and Ashland College (now Ashland University) is where that dream would come true. Along with college came meeting boys and for her it was Patrick. They eventually became intimate and with intimacy came the news that she was pregnant. As far as I knew for years afterward was the story that Pat just cut his ties with her and that was that. She wanted to have me even though she wasn’t married and back in 1969 that was pretty taboo. Especially for a family like mine that gets embarrassed over small family dramas. There were some quick solutions though. One was to drop out of college. Another was to move into a small cottage out in the country when she began to show. The cottage was on a farm down the road from my great aunt and uncle who were good friends of the farmer and his wife. Next, and shaking my head now writing this at the absurdity, was where I was born. Luckily for the family, we lived very close to the Pennsylvania border. They got Jean set up with Sharon General hospital and that is where I was born. Want to know why? The local paper would not show my birth record…it would be in another state. Weird but that was the mentality back then. It’s like all the sudden Jean disappears and then several months later reappears with a bundle of joy. You know what? So what. She would have gone through all of that again if she had to.
She went back to college after a couple years and took me with her. There were a couple very cheap babysitters that she could rely on for support while in class. She finished college and achieved her goal as a single mom. She was now a schoolteacher and secured a Home Economics teaching position at an inner-city school in Youngstown, OH. Primarily she was teaching sewing for her first several years which was a humorous detriment to myself. Detriment at the time and humorous now. She made a LOT of my clothes. Don’t get me wrong though, that woman could sew with the best of them. I believe I drew a line in the sand back in the 80s when I wanted a pair of Jordache jeans like all the other kids and she made me her own version. It didn’t not go over well with the other kids. I was called Generic Jordache. I was mortified BUT as she saw how distressed I was…got me a really cool pair of Jordache jeans.
I believe I was 10 or 11 years old when I made a discovery in the basement. An old box with knickknacks and things and some old letters? From Patrick. Wow. No emails back in the late 60s and Pat had a way with words. Every letter had a different greeting, Dear Sweetie Pie, Dear My Darling Doll etc, you get the idea. They were all pretty rated G and full of lovey dovey talk. I was very intrigued though and could read very well with, thanks to my mom, and extraordinary vocabulary for my age. There were a lot of letters to read through. This is the closest I have come to knowing my biological father and my mom’s relationship with him. I got to the last letter in the stack. It was a different tone right off the bat because it started off, Dear Jean…that’s strange. I felt hollow at the end of it. Numb even. Even to this day probably the most soul ripping words I had or ever will read. I will just give the wavetops. He wanted her to get an abortion. He had his whole future ahead of him etc. I took that letter to the backyard and burned it. My life was never the same since. My relationship with my mother took on a whole other meaning. She chose me. Me. She had the courage to live in her own truth and integrity.
For several years I was also a bit insecure though as well. I thought of myself as a mistake. An error that God made. Oops. I always felt so different than everyone else and WAS so different than everyone else that I always attributed it to my being that mistake. The funny thing is…God doesn’t make mistakes. I was born for a reason and I am here for a reason. I will continue to shine my light until my last breath. My mom brought me into this world. She took care of me, she nurtured me, and I honor her here and now and Always. I love you, Mom.